Our first guest in this summer's opalescent series hails from the Washington DC metro area. Newly launched Maggie Austin Cake is quickly gaining a reputation for creating cake art that's not only beautiful, but delicious. A former classical ballet dancer, chef and owner Maggie LaBaugh carries this aesthetic into her cake design by maintaining technique, elegance, symmetry, and line, but doing so with ease, charm, and a sense of freedom. Like a haute couture garment, all elements are meticulously sculpted and hand-painted, while the overall effect remains clean and light. Maggie graduated with honors from The French Pastry School in Chicago and immediately began an internship at world renowned restaurant, Charlie Trotter's. Her commitment to excellence extends to her flavor profiles, which include Mexican Vanilla Cake with Earl Grey Ganache and, her favorite, Vietnamese Cinnamon Cake with Hazelnut Praliné and Cappuccino Buttercream.
Maggie loved the versatility of the palette and found it inspiring enough to create more than just one cake.
First up, the black pearl cake, in her own words:
"For hundreds of years, the Black South Sea pearl has been revered as one of nature's most exquisite and rare creations. When Kokichi Mikimoto opened his first pearl shop in 1899, the cultured treasures were put into reach at last. This cake, like the oyster itself, is a study in contrast: shimmering black spheres tumble from the rough, weathered shell perched on smooth white fondant. Take a bite! It's all sugar..."
A bouquet trio:
"Breaking from convention in a graceful way, the cake trio blossoms with exquisite sugar flower arrangements. Long after the wedding bouquets have dried, these blooms will retain their full glory. They're timeless, like vows themselves."
Inspired by a magical day at Opal Beach on the Florida Gulf, this cake simply shines. Opalescent stones smoothed by crystal-clear waters and a bright flash as a fish leaps into the sun. Simple and clean, this cake proves that you don't need to have a destination wedding to capture the essence of the seashore.
Love these cakes? See even more in Maggie's portfolio. I love Maggie's attention to detail, not only on the cake, but the cake stand it sits on. So I asked her where she finds all of her treasures. Here's what she had to say.
"I love to find unconventional ways to display my cakes. I am always on the lookout for beautiful cake stands at antique stores, yard sales, and auctions. A single, silver candlestick with a beautiful low-rimmed plate perched on top can have a big impact. For a sleek and contemporary stand with a high gloss finish, I like Cordon Bleu's BIA line. Garden stores and nurseries have a tremendous selection of window boxes and pedestals that work very well too. And I often look in my own backyard! A few carefully stacked flat topped stones with a cake board discreetly tucked beneath can provide a stunning contrast; a truly organic base paired with a polished and pristine cake.